We Belong Together by Beth Moran

Eleanor Sharpley has reached the end of her tether. Her position as an online influencer and restaurant critic has become toxic; she no longer wants this life. Feeling threatened and vulnerable, she packs up her stuff and runs to the one person she knows will understand. She has not been able to reach her friend Charlie recently, and is shocked to find out about her death several months before. She finds solace in staying on at Damson Farm, helping Charlie’s brother Daniel look after her daughter Hope, and trying to bring Charlie’s vision for the farm to fruition.

Based loosely on a real life story, the nearby village of Ferrington in Nottinghamshire has been split in two since the Miner’s Strike in the 80s – Old Main Street and New Main Street – with neither side able to compromise. Eleanor makes friends on both sides of the river and would dearly love to heal the rift, but is this even possible?

We see the world solely through Eleanor’s eyes, and her character does evolve as the story progresses and she tries to make amends for her past behaviour. Daniel is also a solid believable character, despite none of the story being told from his point of view. However, I did not feel that Charlie was fleshed out well enough, and would have liked a few more flashbacks to get a better sense of who she was.  

Some elements of We Belong Together reminded me of Katie Fforde’s novels, especially the old buildings in need of renovation so that they can run Damson Farm as some kind of business.  I particularly enjoyed Eleanor’s visit to her family’s guesthouse in the Lake District, where they still did everything the old-fashioned way. Her family were wonderfully ‘strange’ and very entertaining.

It was also good that the romance between Eleanor and Daniel was given time to develop in a realistic fashion despite their living in close proximity; they were allowed to become friends first of all, but I would have liked an epilogue just to see how everything worked out.

We Belong Together is a heartwarming story of the importance of community spirit and second chances. It also highlights the darkness at the heart of social media. The characters are well drawn and relatable, and the Nottinghamshire countryside is vividly evoked. I have not read any other books by Beth Moran, but will definitely be adding them to my list in the future as I thoroughly enjoyed reading We Belong Together. Thanks to Boldwood Books and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.